25 Years Ago on March 15th, 1985, the first ever .com was launched, Symbolics.com. But it wasn’t until roughly 10 years later, when Netscape launched the Netscape Navigator, the first widely adopted web browser, that the Internet and the World Wide Web took off. In 1995 VeriSign handled 18 billion website and email connections. Today VeriSign does the same amount of transactions in approximately eight hours. In 1995 there were 16 million Internet users. Today there are over 1.7 billion, amounting to 25% of the world’s population. In 2010 there will be more than 12 million .com addresses. The Web will help drive more than $1.5 trillion in global commerce. The explosive growth of the Internet and the World Wide Web came about when Netscape made it more usable, when their browser made it possible for the average Joe to easily get the content they wanted.
The power of the internet as a communication tool is unprecedented. Where else can a tech geek chair dance to an obscure Romanian pop song and become a global sensation? But the power of this medium is still under leveraged by the marketing community. In 2010 despite digital media accounting for more than 30% of individual media time, digital ad dollars will represent roughly 10% of total advertising spend. Given the increasingly complex online marketing landscape (think social media, ad exchanges, DSP’s, mobile integration, etc.) this gap is understandable. But, just like the tsunami of usage that followed Netscape helping people figure out how to get what they wanted from the Internet, a tsunami of ad dollars are on the way to the Internet as marketers figure out how to take full advantage of the target-ability, customizability and real interactivity that make digital media the best communication tool ever.